Posted: Feb 19, 2013 7:14 PM by Adam Bell
Updated: Feb 20, 2013 9:34 AM
BOZEMAN - Dozens of picketers gathered on the sidewalk outside Bozeman Deaconess Hospital today in cold and windy conditions early in the morning, along with the support of community members and other unions.
Nurse Kristen Mollett says they had the support of "bus drivers and carpenters and fireman and all kinds of patients, actually some of our patients I've seen. So it's awesome."
The nurses are out on the sidewalk asking for community support, as negotiations with the hospital continue.
"We're just trying to draw attention to our contract negotiations and some of the issues we feel are really important out here," said nurse James Fredrickson.
When asked about the picketing Chief Nurse Vickie Groeneweg with the hospital says, "We are fine with it because nurses have the right to have their voices heard."
"We want to correct some of the inequalities that are existing right now and have been for quite some time," says nurse Kristen Mollett. Nurse Lynn Gray agrees, adding, "We just want to see some more respect for our profession, because we come to work and we take care of patients, and it's not about us, it's about the patients."
Hospital patient John Heilman was also out supporting the nurses.
"It's up to other people, individuals like me and other organizations to come out," Heilman said.
Despite the fact of the number of people outside picketing, many may not know there's actually no change to operations inside the hospital, that's because everyone outside is out on their own free time which leads to business as usual inside the hospital.
"We have a full complement of staff, we have a full hospital, a full emergency department and they can come expecting the same level of care our nurses have always given," says Groeneweg.
The support for these nurses, extends even beyond our corner in Montana.
"We're here telling this community that Washington State is here, with them too," says Julia Weinberg with the Washington Nurses Association.
"I think the community is definitely behind us. It's not about that. We just need the administration to see that it shouldn't have had to come to this," says Grey.
More talks are scheduled for later this week.
"I think that both sides are motivated by the fact that they want to reach an agreement so that will keep us coming back to the table with proposals until we can come together on something," Groeneweg said.
"We believe that we can get some positive changes out of all of this," Fredrickson said.
Negotiations between the hospital and the nurses will continue tomorrow and Thursday.